Good question! The clothing you choose will have a huge impact on the look of your portraits so it’s crucial that you choose something that represents who you are and how you would like the world to see you.
Of course the clothing you choose is going to depend on the type of session you’re scheduling (headshot vs. senior pictures vs. family portrait – they’re all very different looks!). But there are some basic tips that everybody can benefit from!
The Basic Portrait Clothing Tips:
1. Darker colors look great for portraits. When you look at a photo your eyes are automatically drawn to the lightest parts of it. If the background and clothing are dark, the viewer’s eye will likely be draw to the person’s face – which is exactly what we want! Dark clothing can also hide a lot of imperfections and make people look more slim – bonus! I like earth tones and jewel tones best – charcoal gray, navy, sapphire blue, deep teal, emerald green & maroon are some of my favorites!
2. Long sleeves or 3/4 sleeves are the way to go, for the same reason above. If you show a lot of skin on your arms and legs it’s going to detract from your face, and your face is what we want people to notice first. In general avoid sleeveless tops, or have something ready to layer something over them if needed.
3. A flattering neckline is really important since it will frame your face. Collared shirts & higher boat/crew/jewel/v-necks work great. Avoid turtlenecks which can make your head look like it’s floating, and also avoid low necklines which can make close-ups look like you have nothing on at all.
4. Solid colors are my preference. Avoid busy & bold patterns – they’re too distracting and will detract from your beautiful smile! Simple patterns without too much contrast can work nicely though, especially if paired with a solid colored layer.
5. Fit is very important! Baggy cloths will add the appearance of more weight in camera. On the other hand, tight cloths will show off unwanted “curves” especially when sitting down (yes, you’ll be sitting for some shots). Aim for something structured that you’re still comfortable in – something that fits snug but without being constraining at all.
6. Layers look fabulous on everybody! Pull out your favorite cardigans, vests, or structured jackets. A sweater layered over a collared shirt works great for guys!
7. Simple accessories are your friend! Accessories can add lots of personality to your portraits!
I’m always available to help clients choose clothing and I encourage you to email or text photos of the outfits you are considering to me so I can make recommendations about what will photograph best. I also encourage you to bring lots of extra clothing choices to your portrait session. It’s better to have a trunk full of options and be able to find something that will look fabulous, than to come without any options!